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  • Oct 21, 2014
  • Updated: 9:13am

Li Ka-Shing

Often referred to as “Superman” in Hong Kong because of his business prowess, Li Ka-shing is the richest businessman in Asia, and chairs conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa and Cheung Kong Holdings, a property group. Li turned Cheung Kong Industries into a top property group, and Cheung Kong expanded to acquire Hutchison Whampoa in 1979 and Hongkong Electric in 1985. Li is a noted philanthropist and heads a charitable foundation that is a shareholder in Facebook.

NewsHong Kong
ECONOMY

Tycoon Li Ka-shing downbeat over Hong Kong’s future

Tycoon warns over competitiveness, Occupy Central and harassment of mainland tourists

PUBLISHED : Friday, 28 February, 2014, 9:38pm
UPDATED : Saturday, 01 March, 2014, 8:16am
 

Poll

  • Occupy Central: 8%
  • Harassment of mainland tourists: 11%
  • Declining competitiveness: 81%
1 Mar 2014
  • Occupy Central
  • Harassment of mainland tourists
  • Declining competitiveness
Total number of votes recorded: 1,125

Li Ka-shing, Asia's richest man, gave a downbeat assessment of Hong Kong's situation yesterday, warning that the Occupy Central campaign, the harassment of mainland tourists and declining competitiveness with neighbouring markets would erode the city's prospects.

Li also said he was upset about the news that Hong Kong has been replaced by Beijing as the venue for a meeting of Apec finance ministers and central bankers.

"The move to occupy Central does not benefit Hong Kong," he said. "If this happens, it will give a bad impression to outsiders ... even if it just lasts for one hour, it will be harmful to the city."

The campaign wants to stage a sit-in protest in the city's business district this year if electoral changes fail to meet its expectations.

Li spoke at the post-earnings results press conference of his flagship companies - Cheung Kong (Holdings) and Hutchison Whampoa.

Cheung Kong posted a 10 per cent rise in its net profit to HK$35.26 billion for the year ended December last year, and Hutchison Whampoa reported its net profit for the year ended December up 20 per cent to HK$31.11 billion. Both were better than analysts' expectations.

Li said Hong Kong people need to stop complaining about Chinese tourists because they help support the city's economy.

Even if it just lasts for one hour, it will be harmful to the city
LI KA-SHING ON OCCUPY CENTRAL

"It will be very difficult for Hong Kong if there's no support from China." Li referred to the harassment of mainland tourists during a protest in Kowloon last month in which demonstrators targeted shoppers in Tsim Sha Tsui,

"Stop scolding China tourists, this is totally wrong," he said. Visitor arrivals to Hong Kong from China jumped about 17 per cent to 40.8 million last year, according to the Hong Kong Tourism Board.

In what seen as an unusual move, Li repeatedly expressed sadness about recent happenings in the city.

"I was saddened that Hong Kong has been replaced by Beijing to host the Apec conference. I hope Hong Kong can be recognised by our own country and other countries as the ideal place to host such international meeting," he said.

He was disheartened about the recent brutal attack of former Ming Pao chief editor, Kevin Lau, that sparked off concern over freedom of press in Hong Kong, and upset by the continuous reports criticising that he is pulling out of Hong Kong, despite his repeatedly denials.

Commenting on Hong Kong's competitiveness and opportunities, he said that the city's competitiveness should be strengthened. The gross dometic product of Hong Kong and Singapore were at similar levels in 1997, he said. But now Hong Kong's per capita GDP is now about one-third less than that of Singapore.

Li was ranked the richest man in Asia by Forbes magazine with a net worth of US$32 billion last year. But the ranking could be threatened by Galaxy Entertainment chairman Lui Che-woo, who has ridden Macau's casino boom to become Hong Kong's second-richest person, with a net worth of US$21 billion.

Li said that in a period of at least 10 years in the past, foreign magazines, which he did not identify, had underestimated his wealth by more than 40 per cent because they did not regard Canada's Husky Energy as one of his assets.

"Actually I am the biggest shareholder in Husky, slightly more than Hutchison. That's a personal investment. But I don't bother to point out," he said.

Li also reiterated he had no plan to retire.

 

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This article is now closed to comments

cleareye
LKS was answering reporters' questions. He did not volunteer his "moral compass" and for those who thinks he sucks blood, what about the thousands of jobs he created for this city? People who contribute little, expect much; do little, talk much. Many commentators herein sit on their backsides everyday and offer their unsolicited opinions because in the real world no one listens to them. When was the last time they did something truly positive for Hong Kong?
anotherguy
You are not only naive but blind perhaps by your anger. He did more charity than we ever did in our entire lives. The city is blinded with anger and rather than questioning ourselves, we keep finding someone to blame. We deserve to lose to the lion city, not because of lks but because we have too Many people who are still locked in their dreams while the world passes us by. Hkers are normally the last people I like to hire not bc of any bias but their standards and attitudes are simply appalling compared to PRC Chinese and many other elites feel the same. But it seems like honesty is the last thing required in this city with everyone encouraging each other to hate the rich, be discriminating towards mainland Chinese and basically silence everyone who speaks the truth.
aplucky1
you must be on his payroll to write such a naive statement
cleareye
Must I? Or have I stated the truth that offended those people as described? Do look once more at your finger-pointing comment and decide what "naive" means. Your bullying don't scare me.
anotherguy
You are not only naive but stupidly blinded. What bullying is there? You are the real bully.
sng7444
This is the man who never speak out unless the interests of his country is threatened or the common wellness of his countrymen.
kctony
For 20 years the Shippers Council has complained about the annual hike of terminal charges. The terminals blamed wage increase as a major factor of skyrocketing operation costs.
Then Hong Kong has just recently found out ...vow....the dockers were still earning 1997 wages in 2012.
Squeezing & sucking the blood of workers and then make a name for himself as a charity donor is not philanthropy. It's more like a spiritual redemption.
ssslmcs01
As one of the biggest beneficiaries of the mainland visitors, what would you expect Mr. Li to say. I'm sure that many Hongkongers would agree with the comments by impala, if Mr. Li wants people to stop complaining, how about redistributing the wealth a little, pay the dock workers amongst others a decent salary.
About his comments on Occupy Central, even the international business leaders have fully endorsed it. German and American business leaders have clearly stated that they fought for democracy and that Hongkongers who treasure democratic representation should do the same. Of course without violence.
sng7444
He makes his money through hardworking so he desrves the reap of his sow. You can do that too,
ssslmcs01
Sure he does! And all his employees working for minimum wage are well treated and aren't being exploited at all.

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